Kabaddi is a contact team sport. Played between two teams of seven players, the objective of the game is for a single player on offence, referred to as a "raider", to run into the opposing team's half of a court, tag out as many of their defenders as possible, and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders, and in a single breath. Points are scored for each player tagged by the raider, while the opposing team earns a point for stopping the raider. Players are taken out of the game if they are tagged or tackled, but are brought back in for each point scored by their team from a tag or tackle.

It is popular in the Indian subcontinent and other surrounding Asian countries. Although accounts of kabaddi appear in the histories of both ancient India and ancient Sistan, the game was popularized as a competitive sport in the 20th century by India. It is the state game of the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. It is also the national sport of Bangladesh.[1]

There are two major disciplines of Kabaddi: Punjabi kabaddi, also referred to as "circle style," comprises traditional forms of the sport that are played on a circular field outdoors, while the "standard style," played on a rectangular court indoors, is a discipline played in major professional leagues and international competitions such as the Asian Games.

The game is known by its regional names in different parts of the Indian subcontinent, such as kabaddi or chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh, kabaddi in Maharashtra and Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana, hadudu in Bangladesh, bhavatik in Maldives, kauddi or kabaddi in the Punjab region, hu-tu-tu in Western India, hu-do-do in Eastern India, chadakudu in South India, kapardi in Nepal and kabaddi or sadugudu in Tamil nadu. The word "kabaddi" is derived from the Tamil word "kai-pidi” (கைபிடி, to hold hands).[2]

Iran men's national kabaddi team 13970602000432636707284535394012 98208
A kabaddi match during the 2018 Asian Games.
Highest governing bodyInternational Kabaddi Federation
NicknamesKaudi, Pakaada, Hadudu, Bhavatik, Saadukuda, Hu-Tu-Tu, Himoshika, Sadugudu
Team members7 (per side)
Mixed genderYes, separate competitions
TypeTeam sport, Contact sport
VenueKabaddi court
Country or regionIndian Subcontinent, Asia
OlympicDemonstration sport: 1936 Olympics


The exact origins of Kabaddi are disputed, with theories suggesting that Kabaddi originated from either the Vedic period of Indian history, or the Sistan region of present-day Iran. The game was said to have been popular among the Yadava people, an abhang by Tukaram stated that the god Krishna played the game in his youth, while the Mahabharata contains an account of Arjuna being able to sneak into hostile areas and take out enemies unscathed—which parallels the gameplay of kabaddi. There are also accounts of Gautama Buddha having played the game recreationally. Despite these conflicting claims, India has been credited with having helped to popularize Kabaddi as a competitive sport, with the first organized competitions occurring in the 1920's, their introduction to the programme of the Indian Olympic Games in 1938, the establishment of the All-India Kabaddi Federation in 1950, and being played as a demonstration sport at the inaugural 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi. These developments helped to formalize the sport, which had traditionally been played in villages, for legitimate international competition.[3][4][5]

After being demonstrated again at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, Kabaddi was added to the Asian Games' programme beginning in 1990.[6]


Standard style

A Kabaddi match at 2006 Asian Games
A kabaddi court at the 2006 Asian Games.

In the international team version of kabaddi, two teams of seven members each occupy opposite halves of a court of 10 by 13 metres (33 ft × 43 ft) in case of men and 8 by 12 metres (26 ft × 39 ft) in case of women. Each has five supplementary players held in reserve. The game is played with 20-minute halves, with a 5-minute half break in which the teams exchange sides. During each play, known as a "raid", a player from the attacking side, known as the "raider", runs into the opposing team's side of the court and attempts to tag as many of the seven defending players as possible. For a raid to be eligible for points, the raider must cross the baulk line in the defending team's territory, and return to their half of the field without being tackled. While doing so, the raider must also loudly chant the word "kabaddi", confirming to referees that their raid is done on a single breath without inhaling. A 120-second shot clock is also enforced on each raid.[7][8][9][2]

A point is scored for each defender tagged. If the raider steps beyond the bonus line marked in the defending team's territory, they earn an additional point. If the raider is successfully stopped, the opposing team earns a point instead. All players tagged are taken out of the game, but one is "revived" for each point a team scores from a subsequent tag or tackle (bonus points do not revive players). Players who step out of the boundary or lobbies are also out. A raid where no points are scored by the raider is referred to as an "empty raid". By contrast, a play where the raider scores three or more points is referred to as a "super raid". If a team gets all seven players on the opposing team out at once ("All Out"), they earn two additional points, and the players are placed back in the game.[7][8][9][2]

Additional rules are used in the Pro Kabaddi League; if a team has two empty raids in a row, the next raider must score a point on their next raid or else they will be out ("do-or-die raid"). Additionally, when a defending team has fewer than four players left on the field, tackles are worth 2 points ("super tackle").[7][8][9][2]

Circle style

Kabaddi Match (Bhimber)
A circle kabaddi match being played in Bhimber.

There are four major forms of Indian kabaddi recognised by the amateur federation. In Sanjeevani kabaddi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out. The game is played over 40 minutes with a five minute break between halves. There are seven players on each side and the team that outs all the players on the opponent’s side scores four extra points. In Gaminee style, seven players play on each side and a player put out has to remain out until all his team members are out. The team that is successful in outing all the players of the opponent’s side secures a point. The game continues until five or seven such points are secured and has no fixed time duration. Amar style resembles the Sanjeevani form in the time frame rule, but a player who is declared out stays inside the court while play continues. For every player of the opposition touched “out”, a team earns a point.[10] Punjabi kabaddi is a variation that is played on a circular pitch of a diameter of 22 metres (72 ft).[11]

International competitions

The following competitions are played in standard format, for that of circle style kabaddi, see Punjabi kabaddi.

Kabaddi World Cup

The standard style Kabaddi World Cup is an outdoor international kabaddi competition conducted by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), contested by men's and women's national teams. The competition has been previously contested in 2004, 2007 and 2016. All the tournaments have been won by India. India defeated Iran by 38-29 in the final of the championship game to clinch the title of 2016.

After the establishment of a new kabaddi organization named World Kabaddi Federation, a world cup in 2019 at Malacca, Malaysia will be organized. It will be the largest world cup in kabaddi history, consisting of 32 men teams.

Asian Games

Kabaddi pictogram
Pictogram of kabaddi
(video) Kabaddi being played in Japan, 2015

Kabaddi has been played at the Asian Games since 1990. The Indian national team had won every men's and women's kabaddi competition in the Asian Games from 1990 through 2014. At the 2018 Asian Games, Iran became the first country outside of India to win gold medals in Kabaddi, with India's men's team winning bronze, and India's women's team being beaten by Iran to win silver.

Pro Kabaddi League

The Pro Kabaddi League was established in 2014. The league modeled its business upon that of the Indian Premier League of Twenty20 cricket, with a large focus on marketing, the backing of local broadcaster Star Sports, and changes to the sport’s rules and its presentation to make it more suitable for a television audience.[12] The Pro Kabaddi League quickly became a ratings success on Indian television; the 2014 season was watched by at least 435 million viewers over the course of the season, and the inaugural championship match was seen by 98.6 million viewers.[13][14]

Super Kabaddi League

In May 2018, the Super Kabaddi League was first held in Pakistan, as part of a larger push to promote renewed interest in the sport in Pakistan (especially after the country began to be increasingly excluded from India-hosted competitions due to security concerns tied to the country's hostile relations with Pakistan).[15][16][17]

Women's Kabaddi Challenge

Women’s Kabaddi Challenge is a women's kabaddi league. The first season was played from 28 June to 31 July 2016 and was broadcast by Star Sports in India. Three teams took part and the league played across seven cities in India. The final was played alongside the men’s version on 31 July. The Storm Queens produced a last-second turnaround to defeat the Fire Birds 24-23.

Asian Kabaddi Championship

AKC's tenth season was played in Gorgan, Iran in 2017 in which India won 10th gold by defeating Pakistan in the finals.

Kabaddi Masters

The inaugural edition of the Kabaddi Masters was held in Dubai from 22nd to 30th June 2018. It was the first Kabaddi tournament to be held in the UAE. It featured 6 teams. India won the tournament by defeating Iran in the final with a scoreline of 44-26.


Kabaddi is a popular sport in India and Asia. The Kabaddi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, and it compiled a standard set of rules. The governing body for Kabaddi in Pakistan is Pakistan Kabaddi Federation. In Bangladesh, a variation of Kabaddi called Ha-du-du is popular. Ha-du-du has no definite rules and is played with different rules in different areas. Kabaddi is the National Game of Bangladesh and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of Bangladesh was formed in 1973. In Iran, the Community of Kabaddi was formed in 1996, in the same year they joined the Asian Kabaddi Federation and in 2001 they joined the International Kabaddi Federation. The Iran Amateur Kabaddi Federation was formed in 2004.

Kabaddi is one of the national sports of Nepal. Kabaddi is played and taught at a very early age in most primary schools beginning in the third grade or so in most Nepali schools. Kabaddi was also played by the British Army for fun, to keep fit and as an enticement to recruit soldiers from the British Asian community. Kabaddi was brought to the United Kingdom by Indian and Pakistani immigrants. The governing body for Kabaddi in the United Kingdom is the England Kabaddi Federation UK.

In popular culture

Films depicting kabaddi
Anime and manga depicting kabaddi
Dramas depicting kabaddi

See also


  1. ^ "A tale of kabaddi, Bangladesh's national sport". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Everything you need to know about Kabaddi". The Indian Express. 2016-01-30. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  3. ^ "The kabaddi question - whose game is it anyway?". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  4. ^ Sen, Ronojoy (2015-10-27). Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231539937.
  5. ^ "A tale of kabaddi, Bangladesh's national sport". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  6. ^ Pioneer. "Kabaddi goes international". Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  7. ^ a b c "Rules of Kabaddi". International Kabaddi Federation (IKF). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Kabaddi World Cup 2016: A handy guide to the format, rules and how the sport works". Firstpost. 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  9. ^ a b c "Kabaddi 101: Raid, defend, revive, repeat". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  10. ^ "Kabaddi In India: Origins, success and current pitiable state". Sportskeeda.com. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  11. ^ Kissa 2 Kabaddi da. Sarwan Singh Sangam Publications. ISBN 93-83654-65-1.
  12. ^ "Kabaddi gets the IPL treatment". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Pro Kabaddi league viewership second only to IPL". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Simple, visceral, fun: why the ancient sport of kabaddi is enjoying a resurgence". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  15. ^ "The importance of professional leagues". The News on Sunday. 2018-11-25. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  16. ^ "Beleaguered no more: Kabaddi gains popularity in Pakistan". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  17. ^ "Kabaddi league: Pakistanis axed from roster". The Express Tribune. 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2018-12-19.

External links

Bangladesh national kabaddi team

Bangladeshi kabaddi team won the bronze medal at the 2006 Asian Games. In 1980, Bangladesh became the runners-up in the first Asian Kabaddi Championship and India emerged as the champion. Bangladesh became runners-up again in the next Asian Kabaddi Championship held in 1988 at Jaipur, India. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation's (BKF) president Mohammad Javed Patwary and General secretary Habibur Rahman is maintaining the National kabaddi team.

Bengaluru Bulls

Bengaluru Bulls (BGB) is a Kabaddi team based in Bengaluru, Karnataka that plays in the Pro Kabaddi League. The team is currently led by Rohit Kumar for Season 5 and coached by Randhir Singh. The team is owned by Kosmik Global Media. Bulls play their home matches at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. Bulls are one of the most successful teams in PKL history after winning the trophy for the first time by defeating the Gujarat FortuneGiants in the 2018-19 season, whilst also finishing a runner's up to U Mumba in 2015 and reaching the semi finals in the inaugural 2014 season.

Dabang Delhi

Dabang Delhi (DBD) is a Kabaddi club based in New Delhi, India that plays in the Pro Kabaddi League. The team is currently led by Joginder Singh Narwal and coached by Krishan Kumar Hooda. The team is owned by Radha Kapoor and they play their home matches at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex, New Delhi. The 2018-19 season was the first time when Dabang Delhi reached the playoffs of the competition.

India national kabaddi Team

The India national Kabaddi Team represents India in international kabaddi competitions. They have won gold medals in all the Asian Games to date except the 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games, and they have won all World Cup events so far. Indian national kabbadi team has recently won Asian Kabaddi Championship 2017 defeating Pakistan in final by 36-22 under the captaincy of Ajay Thakur.

India women's national kabaddi team

India women's national kabaddi team represents India in international women's kabaddi events.

International Kabaddi Federation

The International Kabaddi Federation is the international governing body of Kabaddi. Its membership comprises 31 national associations. The federation was formed in 2004. The founder and current president being Janardan Singh Gehlot from India. The other office bearers were: Mohammed Ali Pour (Iran), Khana Jawa (Japan), Veerawat (Thailand), Yoon Yeong Hak (South Korea), Ashok Das (United Kingdom); (Vice-president), Nisar Ahmed (Germany); (Secretary), R.M. Sunderashan (Malaysia); (Treasurer), Jaya Shetty (India); (CEO), Shankarrao Salvi (India); (Adviser)..

Iran national kabaddi team

The Iran National Kabaddi Team represents the Islamic Republic of Iran in international kabaddi.

Japan national kabaddi team

The Japan national kabaddi team represents Japan in international kabaddi.

It made its way to the semi finals in 2007 world cup of kabbadi which was its best achievement. It is currently led by Mashayuki Shimokawa

Kabaddi at the 2002 Asian Games

Kabaddi was contested at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea from October 4 to October 7. The competition took place at the Tongmyong University.

Six teams competed in a round robin competition. In case of tie, the teams classified according to their points difference against the teams which scored more than 25% of the league points.

Kabaddi at the 2010 Asian Games

Kabaddi at the 2010 Asian Games was held in Nansha Gymnasium, Guangzhou, China from November 22 to 26, 2010.

Kabaddi at the 2014 Asian Games

Kabaddi at the 2014 Asian Games was held in Songdo Global University Gymnasium, Incheon, South Korea from 28 September to 3 October 2014. Both of India's men's and women's teams would face and defeat Iran's respective teams in the finals, earning India's teams the Gold while Iran's teams would win the Silver. Meanwhile the men's team for both South Korea and Pakistan would win the Bronze, as would the women's teams of Bangladesh and Thailand, after their respective defeats in semifinals.

Kabaddi at the 2018 Asian Games

Kabaddi at the 2018 Asian Games was held at the Garuda Theatre, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta, Indonesia, from 19 to 24 August 2018.

Kabaddi at the Asian Games

Kabaddi made its first appearance as an exhibition sport at the 1982 and became an Asian Games event since 1990 in Beijing, China. Until the 2014 edition, India always dominated the event by winning highest number of gold medals in both men's and women's category.

Kabaddi in India

Kabaddi, a contact sport that originated in ancient India, is one of the most popular sports in India, played mainly among people in villages. India has taken part in four Asian Games in kabaddi, and won gold in all of them. Four forms of kabaddi played in India are Amar, Suranjeevi, huttuttoo, and Gaminee. Amar is generally played in Punjab, Haryana, the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world, mostly by Punjabi sportsmen. Suranjeevi is the most played form of kabaddi in India and the world. This is the form used in international matches generally and played in Asian Games. Huttuttoo was played by men in Maharashtra State.

Pakistan national kabaddi team

The Pakistan National Kabaddi Team represents Pakistan in international kabaddi. The Pakistan Kabaddi Federation manages the team.

Pro Kabaddi league

The Pro Kabaddi League, currently known as Vivo Pro Kabaddi League for sponsorship purpose, is a professional-level Kabaddi league in India. It was launched in 2014 and is broadcast on Star Sports.The leagues inception was influenced by the popularity of the Kabaddi tournament at the 2006 Asian Games. The format of the competition was influenced by Indian Premier League. The Pro Kabaddi League uses a franchise-based model and its first season was held in 2014 with eight teams each of which having paid fees of up to US$250,000 to join.There were doubts over whether the PKL would be successful, noting that there were many leagues attempting to emulate the IPL's business model and success, and that unlike cricket, there were relatively fewer well-known players in Kabaddi. However, it was also noted that kabaddi was widely played in grassroots community settings, and could thus attract a wide variety of rural and metropolitan viewers for advertisers to target if the league gained significant traction.The inaugural season was seen by 435 million viewers, Mashal sports placing it just behind the total-season viewership of the 2014 Indian Premier League season, while the inaugural championship was seen by 86.4 million viewers. Star Sports, the PKL's broadcaster, subsequently announced in 2015 that it would acquire a 74% stake in the league's parent company Mashal Sports.For the 2017 season, the PKL added four new teams, and changed its format to split the teams into two divisions known as "zones".

Punjabi kabaddi

Punjabi kabaddi, also called kauddi and Kabaddi Punjabi style, is a contact sport that originated in the Punjab region. There are a number of traditional Punjabi kabaddi styles traditionally played in the Punjab region. Circle style, also called Punjab Circle Style is played at state and international level and is governed by the Amateur Circle Kabaddi Federation of India.

Thailand national kabaddi team

The Thailand national kabaddi team represents Thailand in international kabaddi.

United States national kabaddi team

The United States national kabaddi team first competed at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in Ahmedabad, India. The squad was hastily formed just prior to the tournament, and consisted primarily of Florida A&M University graduates who were experienced in other sports, but were unfamiliar with the sport of kabaddi. Although the team lost all five of its group stage matches, the team was acknowledged by the media for their enthusiasm over the sport and their participation.

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